Jesse Zirillo Survey

 Jesse Zirillo

Current Searcher, Self-Funded

Survey completed September 24, 2020.

Why did you choose your model? Would you make the same choice again?

I want to move at my own pace as I am balancing a high-income full-time job.

Are you searching with a partner? If so, why did you choose them? How did you find them? If not, why did you choose to search solo?

No. I prefer to rely on my own resources.

When is the right time to start speaking with investors? How did you select your search and/or acquisition investors?

Prior to finding a deal.

Did you get an MBA before searching? If so, where and why?


What is your work experience prior to searching?

12 years as an attorney in a director role in a midsize law firm.

What industries and sizes of companies are you pursuing?

$750k-$1.5 million EBITDA. Industrial or manufacturing industry.

Are you doing a geographically focused search? If so, where?

Yes. East Ohio, western PA and northern WV.

How long have you been searching?

6 months.

What systems do you use? (CRM, Email Manager, etc)


How do you organize your day?

Spend 2+ hours doing broker outreach and analyzing companies.

How do you identify prospects to acquire? Do you use only brokers, only direct outreach, or both?

Brokers only.

Approximately how many direct outreach calls and emails have you made to owners?


How do you find company lists?


Do you subscribe to broker deal lists? Which ones?


Do you use interns? If so, how many? What do you have them do?


Approximately how many deals have you reviewed?


How many companies have you gotten to the LOI stage with? How long before your first one?


What has been the most challenging part of your search? What was harder/easier than you expected?

Getting brokers to take you seriously. Differentiating from other search funds.

What articles, books, and resources were most helpful to you in preparing to search?

HBR and Buy Then Build.

What do you wish you knew prior to searching?

Read HBR and Buy Then Build.

What single piece of advice would you share with prospective searchers?

Have entity, email address and website established before starting search.


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I’m always looking to connect with folks interested in this space, don’t hesitate to reach out.